#CreativeUprising Q&A: Thobile Chittenden of Room13

#CreativeUprising Q&A: Thobile Chittenden of Room13

Over the next few days in the lead-up to the ACT | UJ Creative Conference, we will be posting several op-eds from our ACT Team members as well as the conference presenters & performers. This will allow the delegates to interact with some of the key themes and ideas around this year’s #CreativeUprising. Today’s Op-Ed Q&A comes from Thobile Chittenden from Room13,  catch her in conversation with Motsumi Makene on Thursday 27th July 2017 where she will be looking at the role of the community in creativity amidst the 4th Industrial Revolution.      THE ARTS & CULTURE TRUST (ACT): Please briefly describe the work that you are involved in? THOBILE CHITTENDEN (TC): I run a social marketing company that is passionate about uplifting youth and families, a not-for-profit that specialises in educational and behavioural change programmes. Through face-to-face interaction and on–the-ground intervention, we aim to create a sense of individual responsibility. We believe in creating shared value for our clients and the power of collaboration and innovation. Our vision is to make meaningful, measurable and magical differences in the lives and fortunes of disadvantaged youth. ACT: Why do you feel that creativity and the creative economy are essential for South Africa?  TC: I’m sure most people are aware of Africa’s youth bulge; 60% of the workforce in Africa is under 30 years old and it is critical that South Africa turns its fast-growing young population into a dividend rather than a burden. Education and training for future skills is a vital part of realising this potential. We are also very aware of the challenge we face in terms of youth unemployment. The root of unemployment is not only a lack of jobs; but a key...
#CreativeUprising Op – Ed: African Power Station

#CreativeUprising Op – Ed: African Power Station

Over the next few days in the lead-up to the ACT | UJ Creative Conference, we will be posting several op-eds from our ACT Team members as well as the conference presenters & performers. This will allow the delegates to interact with some of the key themes and ideas around this year’s #CreativeUprising. Today’s Op-Ed comes from ART AFRICA editor Ashraf Jamal. Catch his presentation at the ACT | UJ Creative Conference on Friday 28 July 2017.    In Condition Report, a collection of essays concerned with ‘building art institutions in Africa’, Koyo Kouoh – Director of 1:54, the largest annual exhibition of contemporary African art in the northern hemisphere – asks the following: ‘How is Africa after fifty years of Independence, really determining its artistic landscape?’ Kouoh’s approach turns on ‘platforms of criticality and production’ that ‘question hegemonic viewpoints, canons and narratives of art, and develop and manifest approaches of knowledge production outside state institutionalisation’, the better to permit ‘in-between zones, spaces in flux that connect theoretical, visual, practical and local knowledge’. Wary of the easy canonisation and essentialising of contemporary African art, Kouoh’s vision – nothing short of a manifesto – is designed to challenge the blithe absorption of African art within a global economy. Simon Njami, a contributor to Condition Report, shares this line of questioning.  ‘Can we grasp the needs of our times with contemporary tools’ Njami asks. ‘Can we move beyond the codification of a monolithic history of the world that is outrageously simplified? Can we change the analytic schemas whose purpose was to lock identities into geographic essentialisms?’ For Kouoh and Njami what...
#CreativeUprising Op-Ed: SiyafundisaNa in conversation

#CreativeUprising Op-Ed: SiyafundisaNa in conversation

Over the next few days in the lead-up to the ACT | UJ Creative Conference, we will be posting several op-eds from our ACT Team members as well as the conference presenters & performers. This will allow the delegates to interact with some of the key themes and ideas around this year’s #CreativeUprising. Today’s Op-Ed comes from SiyafundisaNa, a collaboration between Puleng Plessie and Genevieve Louw. Catch this dynamic duo at the ACT | UJ Creative Conference on Friday 28 July 2017.    Siyafundisana –We teach each other. Siyafundisa na? – Are we teaching each other?   (This conversation between Puleng Plessie and Genevieve Louw took place underneath a scaffolding structure on Wits campus.)   SiyafunidisaNa in Dialogue: GL: Okay, so what do you mean by “moments” in the scaffolding? PP: The moments that you speak of are moments of failure, moments of strength, moments of collaboration, and moments of access/lack of access especially in relation to the signage. GL: … and intersecting… There are lots of intersections but there are also structures that are very geometric- they are structurally sound. When I look at the pile of scaffolding on the floor it seems to become a representation of possibility because you don’t know what it will become- but also chaos… When it comes to collaborations, strengths and failures, I think about the pedagogical significance of scaffolding. What we do as the constructors of it, as the educators and facilitators. PP: … but also as the facilitators of it, we start to recognize what works and what doesn’t, and how one starts to put away what doesn’t work. What...
#CreativeUprising: Op-Ed – The Future of the arts through rose-tinted glasses

#CreativeUprising: Op-Ed – The Future of the arts through rose-tinted glasses

Over the next few days in the lead-up to the ACT | UJ Creative Conference, we will be posting several op-eds from our ACT Team members as well as the conference presenters & performers. This will allow the delegates to interact with some of the key themes and ideas around this year’s #CreativeUprising. Today’s opinion piece comes from The Arts & Culture Trust’s very own Pieter Jacobs: If anything has the potential to change what the arts industry will be in years to come, it is involving young people in shaping its future. I vividly remember my first theatre encounter as a Grade 1 learner (at the time known as Sub A) – from the anticipation that builds as we’ve left the dusty streets of Dewetsdorp in the Free State to watch Liewe Heksie at the Sand du Plessis in Bloemfontein to the sheer ecstasy of experiencing the magic of theatre. In those days, production values of children’s theatre were excellent. And it certainly was not wasted on impressionable young minds. This is where I fell in love for the first time. And my friends who didn’t fall quite as hard as I did, to this day cherish those memories and now and then return to the theatre in search for that moment of magic. And that is, of course, what the industry needs – a theatre-going, book-reading, art-loving culture. Even though the world has changed in so many ways, I believe that good art has the power to wave its magic wand and take hold of future art-lovers in ways few other things in life are able to....